LAHORE - Offensive remarks of an opposition legislator against leader of the house disrupted the otherwise calm atmosphere inside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday, triggering a war of words between the two sides.

During general discussion on budget, PTI’s Nabeela Hakim Ali addressed the chief minister as Showbaz Sharif, causing treasury legislators led by females to raise slogans of Charsi, Cahrsi. The remarks disrupted smooth proceedings and it took time to the chair to calm down vocal female legislators from the treasury. Opposition legislators came down hard on the government for what they say presenting a budget that was merely gimmickry of words. Those from treasury benches, however, were all praise for the government for presenting development-oriented and pro-poor budget.

The proceedings started one hour and 40 minutes beyond the scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair.

Nabeela Hakim Ali said that Shahbaz Sharif has offered changing his name if he could not end loadshedding within six months. The situation was the same even after four years, she said, adding, the PTI has given name of Showbaz Sharif to the chief minister. Offensive remarks caused uproar in the house and sloganeering against PTI chief from the treasury benches. Treasury legislators, led by females, started chanting slogans of Charsi, Charsi and continued doing the same during speech of female legislator from the opposition.

Nabeela Hakim Ali said that budget was gimmickry of words. She said that there was nothing for the poor and all facilities were solely for the rich.

PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin accused the government of not giving a single project to South Punjab during the last 10 years. He said that schemes identified for Lahore usually get budgetary allocation but that was not the case for South Punjab. He said that government has not allocated fund for Layya Crossing. He said that indifferent attitude of rulers had created a sense of insecurity among people of South Punjab. He demanded giving status of a province to South Punjab.

PPP’s Nizam-ul-Mehmood said that not a single project has been given to Taunsa Sharif during the last four years. He said that people were forced to drink water from ponds meant for animals. He said that usually government made allocation of billions for health and education. But in Taunsa, he said, there was no quality hospital or school. If the government wanted to continue the same treatment, he said, there was suggestion of including Taunsa in Balochistan province.

PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal said that more than Rs700 million were spent on boundary wall of Jati Umra. On the other side, he said, people have no access to clean drinking water. Aslam said one JIT was investigating corruption case in Islamabad. He said that even pregnant women were shot on the face in Model Town. Murder of 14 innocent people would bring gallows for the rulers, he was of the view.

JI parliamentary leader Dr Waseem Akhtar demanded restoration of Bahawalpur province to remove sense of deprivation prevailing among people. He also demanded fulfilling of the promise of construction of overhead pedestrian bridge between medicine market and Bahawal Victoria Hospital. He said that making allocation was not enough and there was need of monitoring to ensure optimum utilisation. Similarly, it was also necessary to inform the public regarding utilisation of funds on a project, he said. Terming budget clerical, he demanded empowering standing committees to identify schemes and allocate funds. In the past, he said, funds allocated for 117 schemes in South Punjab were diverted and spent on Metro Bus. He also demanded saying goodbye to interest-based economy as it was a war against the Almighty and the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Amjad Ali Javed, Shamila Aslam, Najma Begum and Nighat Nasir Sheikh also took part in discussion.

On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till 11am on Thursday (today).